The 1st ICR-Pre-Strategic Initiative Joint Seminar: “Toward Policy Solutions for Disparities and Inequalities”
The University of Tsukuba’s Pre-Strategic Initiative “Center for Empirical Social Science Research Toward Policy Solutions for Disparities and Inequalities,” adopted in FY2021, will continue to hold seminars on a variety of topics including digital technology, gender, educational disparities, and generational disparities, with the aim of policy solutions for disparities and inequalities. The Center will continue to hold seminars on a variety of topics, including digital technology, gender, education, and generational disparities.
Summary of the seminar
The first meeting was held on November 1, 2021, with a purpose statement by Associate Professor Hidehiro Yamamoto, the representative of the project, and a lecture by Assistant Professor Sae Okura on issues related to female legislators.
Associate Professor Yamamoto began his presentation with an overview of the University of Tsukuba’s Pre-Strategic Initiative System, followed by a discussion of the objectives of this project, which are to identify and study the actual conditions of disparities and inequalities that exist in society in order to find policy solutions to such disparities and inequalities, and to identify what kind of policy formation system would be effective in solving such disparities and inequalities. The project also aims to form a center for considering what kind of policy formation system would be effective in resolving such disparities and inequalities.
As concrete approaches, he explained plans for holding seminars such as this one from time to time, building a website including an open database, and actively collaborating with government agencies and other organizations.
In the lecture session that followed, Assistant Professor Okura took the podium and presented a research report on the theme of “Politics Representing Women: What would change if there were more female legislators? The content of her report included, first of all, the current situation of women in Japan.
The content of the report began with an introduction of the current low number of female Diet members in Japan and the efforts being made to address this situation. Based on this, the question was raised as to whether there is still a lack of consideration of “what will change if women increase their participation in politics. Therefore, Assistant Professor Okura and her colleagues conducted a questionnaire survey of municipalities nationwide regarding the status of enactment of gender equality ordinances and plans, initiatives in the Fourth Basic Plan for Gender Equality, and the status of institutional arrangements for marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare for lawmakers. We then analyzed how the introduction of policies differs depending on the percentage of female council members. The results showed that the introduction of women’s policies was generally low in municipalities with no or less than 10% female councilors. However, a linear relationship was not observed in which the higher the percentage of councilors, the more women’s policies were introduced, suggesting either that many female councilors are not interested in issues involving women and gender equality, or that there is no environment in which female councilors can collectively exert their power.
Participants asked questions such as “What can we see when we compare the results of this survey in Japan with those of other countries?